Applications of signaling games in the study of language

Christina Pawlowitsch (Panthéon-Assas University)

Apr 05, 2023, 18:00

ENS Paris-Saclay, Room (Tab), 4 avenue des Sciences, 91200 Gif-sur-Yvette



The theory of costly signaling is a well-established paradigm in economics and theoretical biology. The first mathematical formulation, dating back to Spence 1973, will this year be 50 years old. In this talk, I will present a simple game with two possible states of the world (=two types of the sender), two signals (a costly signal and the absence of that costly signal), and two reactions to signals (accept or do not accept). I will first explore the semantic properties of the equilibria of these games, that is, investigate which equilibria exist in this game, under which assumptions on the signaling costs for the two types and the a priori probability over the two types, and study which signal comes to "mean" what in these equilibria. Then, I will discuss two applications to questions studied in linguistics: "politeness" in language and the phenomenon of "style shifting."

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Location :
see the CEPS campus (ENS Paris-Saclay or University of Evry-Val d’Essonne) and the corresponding rooms indicated for each event.